This Day in History

Posted: Monday, December 11, 2006

In Alaska

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• In 1902, the Kotzebue Post Office was established with Dana H. Thomas as postmaster.

• In 1925, the Cape Spencer Light Station was commissioned by the U.S. Lighthouse Service.

• In 1939, Seldovia began using water from its own city water system. The project was handled by the PWA, a New Deal agency.

• In 1964, the State Commissioner of Public Works announced plans to build a new International Terminal at Anchorage International Airport.

• In 1979, the Beaufort Sea Oil & Gas Lease Sale brought in $1 billion, of which $456 million went to the state of Alaska.

In the nation

• In 1816, Indiana became the 19th state.

• In 1882, Boston's Bijou Theatre, the first American playhouse to be lighted exclusively by electricity, gave its first performance, of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Iolanthe."

• In 1980, President Carter signed into a law legislation creating a $1.6 billion environmental "superfund" to pay for cleaning up chemical spills and toxic waste dumps.

• In 1991, a jury in West Palm Beach, Fla., acquitted William Kennedy Smith of sexual assault and battery, rejecting the allegations of Patricia Bowman.

• In 2001, the chairman of the militant Jewish Defense League, Irv Rubin, and an associate, Earl Krugel, were arrested on suspicion of plotting to blow up a Los Angeles mosque and the office of an Arab-American congressman. (Rubin died in November 2002, 10 days after what federal officials described as a suicide attempt in jail.) The government approved Swiss food giant Nestle SA's $10.3 billion purchase of Ralston Purina.

• In 2005, Paramount Pictures announced it was buying independent film studio DreamWorks SKG Inc.

In the world

• In 1792, France's King Louis XVI went before the Convention to face charges of treason. (Louis was convicted, and executed the following month.)

• In 1928, police in Buenos Aires, Argentina, announced they had thwarted an attempt on the life of President-elect Herbert Hoover.

• In 1936, Britain's King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson.

• In 1937, Italy withdrew from the League of Nations.

• In 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States; the U.S. responded in kind.

• In 1946, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was established.

• In 1981, the U.N. Security Council chose Javier Perez de Cuellar of Peru to be the fifth secretary-general of the world body.

• In 1996, a China-organized committee of 400 Hong Kong notables elected shipping tycoon Tung Chee-hwa to be the first postcolonial leader of Hong Kong.

• In 2001, in the first criminal indictment stemming from Sept. 11, federal prosecutors charged Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, with conspiring to murder thousands in the suicide hijackings. (Moussaoui pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2005 and was sentenced to life in prison.)

• In 2005, thousands of drunken white youths, angered by reports that youths of Lebanese descent had assaulted two lifeguards, attacked police and people they believed were Arab immigrants at a beach in Sydney, Australia; young men of Arab descent retaliated in several Sydney suburbs, fighting with police and smashing cars. Explosions ripped through a major fuel depot north of London, injuring 43 people; the cause of the blasts was later found to be accidental.

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